Australian Senate Inquiry into Video Game Loot Boxes Begins on Friday

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A Senate inquiry into video game loot boxes passed by senator Jordon Steele-John in June is due to begin in Melbourne today. The inquiry comes after a number of state researchers put the suggestion forward that video game loot boxes may be as addictive as pokie machines. Video game players (particularly, those that are very young) are said to be at risk of spending massive amounts of money on loot boxes that contain enticing in-game items that are rewarded in a random fashion.

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The negative social impact of loot boxes was first brought to global attention at the end of 2017 after it was revealed that many high-profile video games, such as Star Wars Battlefront 2 and Middle Earth: Shadow of War, would be including the microtransaction system in-game. It was later revealed that in both titles, the system would largely be tied to in-game progression, meaning that players would need to spend cash on a randomised reward system to see any gains in the title.

Loot Boxes Under Global Scrutiny

Australia is not the only nation to take a firm stance against video game loot boxes. Several European nations have also begun openly investigating the nature of these in-game reward systems and their effects on players.

Earlier this year, both the Netherlands and Belgium declared loot boxes a form of gambling and subsequently banned them from appearing in any future video game title released in their respective territory. Publishers now risk a fine and/or a prison sentence if they choose to release a game including a loot box feature in these two nations.

Video game titles researchers from these two nations looked at during their inquiries; include the previously mentioned Star Wars Battlefront 2, Overwatch, FIFA 18 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

It still remains to be seen as to whether Australia will follow suit in banning video game loot boxes. For future updates on this story, be sure to keep it locked here at